By now, you may have heard. Las Vegas is set to become the first city in the U.S. to introduce needle vending machines for the their drug users.
In May, the city will be placing three vending machines around the city, in an effort to help combat the spread of hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV … and with hopes of leading some drug users into treatment.
Each machine costs $15,000 USD, and will be located inside the three facilities and can only be accessed during hours the buildings are open for business. While each kits costs under $10, they would be free for users.
The pilot program — which is being coordinated between Trac-B Exchange, the Southern Nevada Health District and the Nevada AIDS Research and Education Society — hopes the effort will discourage the sharing of needles among users.
To obtain needles from the machines, however, users would have to fill out a form for the sponsoring groups and obtain an eight-digit identification number to ensure confidentiality and track their use. Each kit will contain sterile syringes and needles, as well as a compartment where used needles that can be disposed of safely.
According to reports, programs like this are already available in cities across the pond, including Berlin since 1988 and in France, Australia and Puerto Rico for years.